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What Makes a Great Seller?

Lily O'Halloran

What Makes a Great Seller?

Have you ever stopped to consider what makes a great seller? If not, you should. Great sellers land more sales, have higher conversions, and more repeat business. To determine what makes a great seller, let’s take a look at what we want from a seller.

Timely Communication

If a potential buyer shows an interest in your product, should you:

a.) respond as quickly as possible.

b.) Take your sweet time, and answer when you get around to it.

Now, I would assume that serious sellers would choose option a. Why then do so many buyers complain about sellers not responding to questions? As a seller, you should be ecstatic that a customer is interested enough to contact you. Why? The buyer is obviously considering making a purchase. If you play your cards right, they’ll purchase from you.

Anytime a buyer contacts you, you are presented with an opportunity to shine. Show customers why they should buy from you. Personally, I would rather buy from a pleasant professional than from a flippant seller. I want to know that my transaction is going to be treated seriously. Lazy sellers lose sales. Many buyers are in a hurry; they won’t wait around for an answer that may not come. When you respond within a short period of time, 24 hours or less, buyers are reassured that you are a serious seller.


Great sellers provide accurate descriptions of the products they sell. If your product is re-furbished, let customer know. Be honest about all areas of your business. Why? Honesty builds trust. Honest sellers have satisfied customers that receive what they expect to receive – no upsetting surprises. Happy customers lead to positive feedback and testimonials, increased sales, and loyal customers.


Can customers trust you? Do you do what you say? Trust is paramount to success. If your auction states that you ship within 24 hours of payment, then buyers expect you to do so. When you don’t, you lose respect and credibility. You will receive negative feedback now, and ultimately fewer sales. Be trustworthy to encourage customers to buy from you.

Ships Quickly

Procrastination will ruin your business. Shipping quickly, on the other hand, greatly pleases buyers. Buyers love receiving packages earlier than expected, but even on-time is good. A timely delivery increases the likelihood that the buyer will buy from you again. Don’t blow your chance for positive feedback and repeat sales by delaying shipment without a good reason.

Clear Policies

Clear policies let buyers know what to do and what to expect. What type of policies might you have? You should have a payment policy in place. Consider adding shipping and return policies as well. A payment policy provides directions regarding how to pay for an item, when the payment is expected, and what forms of payment are acceptable. Simple instructions allow transactions to flow easily on both sides.

A shipping policy informs buyers of your shipping time frame. For example, some sellers only ship orders on Thursdays. A buyer that pays for an item on Saturday generally expects the item to be shipped by Monday or relatively soon after. If the Thursday-shipping Seller neglects to inform buyers that she only ships on Thursdays, she is sure to end up with disgruntled customers. Avoid unfortunate confrontations by providing clear policies in your listings.

Return policies reassure buyers that you stand behind your products. If you choose not to accept returns, then state no returns are accepted. Either way, let buyers know what to expect. If you accept returns only when the product description is grossly misstated, then say so. Buyers bid on the terms you list, and eBay will hold you to them.

Product Knowledge

Sellers with a good understanding of the products they sell write better listings, and they are able to provide quick and accurate answers to buyers’ questions. Product knowledge enables sellers to stand out as a resource and an expert in their industry. Most buyers would rather buy products from an expert. Why? Experts are able to tell buyers about the hidden benefits of a product. Experts can also provide sound recommendations and trustworthy advice.


Share what type of industry-related experience you have. For example, maybe you have owned and operated a brick & mortar store for 17 years, but you’re new to eBay. If you don’t share the depth of your experience, than buyers will think you are a newbie. Experience is worth something. It shows that you are serious; you know what you are doing. Long-standing experience tells buyers that you are a serious professional that is broadening their horizons.

A great seller has many attributes that lead to their success. Are you a great seller? You can be!

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